litigation

Albuquerque Trucking Crashes Caused by Blinding Rain: Liability Explained

- Mark Caruso

When Heavy Rain Causes an Albuquerque Trucking Crash, Liability is Still on the Driver Not on the Weather

A motor vehicle accident caused by heavy rain may appear obvious that it was the rain’s fault, right?  Wrong.  New Mexico law and federal regulations require motorists, particularly truck drivers of big rigs, 18 wheelers, tanker, flatbeds, double trailers, and other large commercial vehicles, to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances when operating a motor vehicle.

What does this mean exactly?  When the weather conditions make driving dangerous, truck drivers need to reduce speed or stop driving to ensure they can safely proceed.  If a truck driver fails to do so, it can result in a serious Albuquerque trucking accident which can seriously injure or kill a victim.  If you or a loved one were killed by a truck driver in heavy rain, call the experienced Albuquerque trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. by dialing (505) 883-5000 for a FREE consultation to learn how we can protect your rights to compensation.

New Mexico Law Requires Trucks to Slow Down or Stop in Heavy, Blinding Rain

New Mexico statutory law, or laws made by the legislature, contain several prohibitions on operating a motor vehicle during heavy, blinding rain where it could result in danger to others on the roadway.  For instant, NM Stat. 66-7-301 provides that a driver shall control the speed of his or her vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle or other on the highway.  Cases have interpreted this as meaning if the conditions of the roadway are dangerous due to the weather, a driver must slow down or stop otherwise he or she would be violating this statute and liable for any trucking accident.

Under NM Stat. 66-7-318 (A), a motorist shall not follow another vehicle “more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon the condition of the highway.”  If the condition of the highway is limited due to heavy rain, then a motorist must slow down to avoid colliding with the vehicle in front of him or her.  If the motorist fails to do that, he or she may be negligent for violating the statute and causing serious injuries.

Under the common law, or judge made law, a driver is negligent if he or she fails to see what there is to be seen or hear what there is to be heard.  This means that if a driver knows that he or she cannot see due to the heavy rain, then the driver but slow down or stop to avoid a collision.  Therefore, even if one of the statutes above does not fit, a driver can STILL be found negligent just on the common law claim for negligence.

Federal Regulations Require Trucks to Stop or Slow in Heavy Rain

Laws differ from state to state.  Sine trucking is largely an interstate business wherein large commercial trucks go across the county and use some of New Mexico’s busy interstates such as I-40, I-25, and I-10, federal regulations have been enacted to set general standards throughout all the states.  These regulations are agency made, or enacted by the third and final branch of government—executive branch of government.

Under 49 CFR 392.14, a driver of a large commercial truck must use “extreme caution” in the operation of such truck in hazardous conditions such as rain which “adversely affect[s] visibility or traction.”  Further, the regulation continues that “[s]peed shall be reduced when such conditions exist . . . [i]f conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until . . . [the truck] can be safely operated.”

If a truck driver causes a serious Albuquerque trucking accident because he or she failed to operate their vehicle safely given the circumstances, it can result in a violation of this federal regulation.  While it is not automatically a finding of negligence, it is evidence of negligence that a judge or jury may use against the defendant truck driver or trucking company.

Injuries in Albuquerque Trucking Accidents Caused by Heavy Rain Can Result in Liability and Compensation for a Victim

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico car accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Common Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents Which Could Get You Compensation

- Mark Caruso

If You Were Involved in One of These Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents, You May Be Entitled to Compensation!

There are many types of motor vehicle accidents that you could be involved in because there is seemingly an endless combination of angles, speeds, or circumstances which could contribute to an accident.  While every type of motor vehicle accident can cause serious personal injuries, certain types of accident generally produce certain types of injuries.  For instance, rear end accidents typically cause whiplash injuries whereas sideswipe accidents will normally not.

But for any type of injury that you or a loved one may have suffered in an Albuquerque motor vehicle accident, you should always consult with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney such as the ones at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C.   Our knowledgeable attorneys will explain your rights in a motor vehicle accident and ensure your ability to obtain compensation is protected.  Do not second guess your injuries or your rights in any Albuquerque motor vehicle accident.  Call us today for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.

Common Types of Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accidents

Any type of motor vehicle accident can cause personal injuries.  This includes low speed car accidents or single car accidents.  Anytime a motor vehicle accident is caused by the negligence of another, a victim may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries.  There are some common types of motor vehicle accidents which can result in personal injuries and entitle victims to compensation.

These include the following types of motor vehicle accidents:

  • Head on collisions;
  • Rear end crashes;
  • Sideswipe accidents;
  • Jackknife tractor trailer truck accidents;
  • T-bone crashes;
  • Roll over accidents;
  • Crashes with emergency vehicles;
  • Motorcycle accidents;
  • Pedestrian knockdowns;
  • Bicycle accidents;
  • and many other types of car accidents.

Been in any of the above types of motor vehicle accidents?  Then you need to start to protect your rights and ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation that you may be entitled to.

Injured in an Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accident? Contact our Albuquerque Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys Today!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced Albuquerque motor vehicle accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Jackknife New Mexico Trucking Accidents and Liability

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Trucking Accident Attorneys Discusses Jackknife New Mexico Trucking Accidents and Liability

Tractor trailers, big rigs, semis, and other large commercial vehicles can cause very serious and devastating New Mexico trucking accidents.  These are large vehicles with a lot of momentum.  Whatever they crash into can be absolutely obliterated, including all of the passengers inside.  These types of motor vehicle accidents usually result in death or serious injuries causing permanent disabilities.  One of the worst types of trucking accidents which can cause the worst types of injuries are jackknife trucking accidents.

If you or a loved one are injured in a jackknife New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced Albuquerque trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. by calling (505) 883-5000 for a FREE evaluation.  Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to protect the rights of the victim of a trucking accident to ensure he or she receives the maximum compensation he or she deserves.  Don’t delay, contact us today!

Jackknife New Mexico Trucking Accidents

One of the scariest types of New Mexico trucking accidents are the jackknife accidents.  This is where the cab of the truck (the part where the driver sits) and the trailer (the part behind the cab holding the cargo) face different directions.  This is caused when the trailer of the truck swings to the side and forms a 90-degree angle with the cab.  Essentially, this forms an “L” shape.  Generally, a jackknife trucking accident occurs when there is a sudden change in speed, such as slamming on the brakes or curvy roads, which causes the trailer’s momentum to swing forward when the cab stops.

When a jackknife trucking accident occurs, it can create a wide path of destruction spanning several lanes of traffic.  This is because the trailer portion of the truck could essentially sweep across the entire road colliding with everything on the roadway until the truck comes to a stop.  This can cause very serious injuries to motorists even 3 or 4 lanes away.  Jackknifed trucks are also prone to flipping over or rolling over, which can result in crushing injuries and death.

Liability in Jackknife New Mexico Trucking Accidents

Unlike other types of trucking accidents, jackknife accidents only happen under certain circumstances.  Most of these circumstances can relate to the negligence of the truck driver because we know jackknife trucking accidents occur when the driver slams on the brakes, around a curvy turn, or in adverse weather conditions that the driver fails to appreciate.  Because of this, generally a jackknife trucking accident will be caused by the negligence of the trucking driver and allow a victim to recover damages because of this negligence.

In addition to the negligence of the truck driver, the trucking company may also be liable for a jackknife trucking accident.  This is because of vicarious liability which renders the employer liable for the employee’s negligence.  Additionally, this could also be caused by the trucking company’s negligence in hiring or training the trucking driver which caused the accident in the first place.

Contact an Experienced Jackknife Trucking Accident Attorney Today!

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced jackknife trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

What is the FMCSA and How Can It Help My New Mexico Trucking Accident Case?

- Mark Caruso

Using the FMCSA to your Advantage in New Mexico Trucking Accidents

While the law may be similar, each state has a different body of law and legal nuances.  This makes trucking litigation more difficult as a trucking company from Delaware, picking up cargo in New Jersey, transporting the cargo to California, and driving through New Mexico will encounter many different laws, regulations, and legal requirements.  The can quickly become burdensome, and safety requirements in New Jersey may be different than New Mexico.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was created within the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2000.  The FMCSA’s primary mission is to “reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.”  To this effect, the FMCSA conducts studies and promulgates regulations which apply throughout the United States—whether or not a state has adopted similar safety protections.  This unifies the safety requirements and obligations on trucking companies and tractor trailers traveling throughout many states.

Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., our experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys know how to use the FMCSA as a sword against negligent trucking companies and truck drivers causing serious personal injuries on our roadways.  If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a trucking accident, contact us today for a FREE case evaluation by calling (505) 883-5000.

Regulations Under the FMCSA

The FMCSA issues and publishes regulations application to trucking companies and truck drivers.  The FMCSA regulates many different aspects of commercial trucking, including types of vehicles, qualifications and training for truck drivers, insurance requirements, hours of operation a truck driver may operate a vehicle, and many other aspects of intercontinental trucking.

The regulations issued by the FMCSA are complied in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.  These regulations apply to almost all trucking companies, truck drivers, and tractor trailer or large commercial trucks in the United States.

Violations of FMCSA Regulations

Under New Mexico law, a violation of a regulation is evidence of negligence.  This includes a violation of a regulation issued by the FMCSA and contained in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.  Even though a violation of a regulation is not automatically a finding of negligence, a violation of a FMCSA regulation provides a strong basis for negligence.

Thus, a violation of a FMCSA regulation will help establish negligence on the part of a trucking company and truck driver in a personal injury case.  Many times the regulations prescribe specific requirements that a trucking company and truck driver must comply with.  If the trucking company and truck driver fail to comply with these requirements, and such failure causes personal injuries, a jury is likely to hold the trucking company and truck driver liable.  This is why having a knowledgable New Mexico trucking accident attorney is very important to find the applicable regulations and establish a violation of them.

Contact the FMSCA Knowledgable Attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. Today!

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Using the Smith System of Defensive Driving to Prevent Albuquerque Trucking Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Learning the Smith System of Defensive Driving Can Prevent Albuquerque Trucking Accidents and Save Your Life!

It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  And when it comes to avoiding motor vehicle accidents, particularly trucking accidents, that statement could not be more applicable.  Preventing a motor vehicle accident in the first place is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe.  When it comes to trucking accidents, you may not get a second chance due to the sheer size and power these types of vehicles have.

Here at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C., we understand the importance of preventing motor vehicle accidents and trucking accidents because we have seen the devastating and debilitating damage these types of accidents can cause.  But if you or a loved one were unfortunate enough to be in one, our experienced Albuquerque trucking accident attorneys have the knowledge and compassion necessary to ensure your rights are protected.  Contact us today for a FREE case evaluation by calling (505) 883-5000.

The Smith System of Defense Driving

There are five points of the Smith System of Defense Driving which you should commit to memory and practice whenever operating a motor vehicle.  This is particularly important to avoid tractor trailer, semi, and other large commercial vehicle accidents.  The five points of the Smith System of Defensive Driving include the following:

1 – Aim High When Driving – The first rule is to “aim high in steering.”  Meaning staying alert of the traffic dangers not just right in front of you, but further down the road and even in front of the cars in front of you.  This helps the driver view the road as a whole and not just what is immediately in front of the moving vehicle.

2 – The Big Picture – Look for all hazards in and around the roadway.  This includes looking in front of you, behind you, in the lanes to your side, bicyclists along the roadway, pedestrians crossing, or car doors opening.  Survey the whole roadway and what could come into it as a hazard.

3 – Keep Your Eyes Moving – Keep your eyes constantly moving and looking at hazards and obstacles as you continue to drive forward.  Do not stare, and do not focus just in one direction for a long period of time.  You should be constantly scanning and moving your eyes around.

4 – Leave Yourself and Out – Whenever you are driving a motor vehicle, ensure that you have one space to turn to in the case of an emergency.  This means leaving yourself a little bubble to escape to in the result of an emergency.  Never block yourself or box yourself in so you have no where to do if something comes in front of you.  Always have a safe space to turn into as an “out.”

5 – Make Sure Others Can See You – This is the most important part of driving defensively when on the roadway with trucks, semis, and other large commercial vehicles.  Always make sure that other motorists and truck drivers can see you and know where you are.  Always make sure you are seen and visible.  If you are not sure you are or were seen, use your horn or lights (if at night) to get another motorist’s attention.

Contact an Experienced Albuquerque Trucking Accident Attorney

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Calculating Damages in New Mexico Trucking Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Victims of New Mexico Trucking Accidents are Entitled to Compensatory Damages

New Mexico trucking accidents can cause serious personal injuries and death.  Approximately two years ago, seven people were killed in a New Mexico trucking accident on Intestate 10 during an oncoming dust storm.  These seven people were traveling in three passenger vehicles on Interstate 10.  Due to the ongoing dust storm, they slowed down as reasonable under the circumstances.  However, three tractor trailer and commercial trucks did not slow down and rear ended the three passenger vehicles causing a pileup accident.  There was an explosion which started a fire, killing all seven occupants of the passenger vehicles.  No truck drivers were killed or injured.

One of the deceased is Joseph Guttuso.  His estate contacted the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. to represent Mr. Guttuso in the trucking accident and wrongful death claim.  The matter is currently in a jury trial in Santa Fe county.  The family is seeking compensation for the wrongful loss of Mr. Guttuso as a result of the negligence of the trucking companies and truck drivers.  If you, a loved one, or someone you know has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for a FREE case evaluation by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn about your rights to compensation.

Types of Damages in New Mexico Trucking Accidents

There are several different types of damages which a victim of a New Mexico trucking accident could be entitled to.  Whether an individual is entitled to such damages depends on the facts of the case and whether such damages are related to the accident.  Some examples of damages include the following:

  • Past pain and suffering from injuries during the accident and up to trial;
  • Future pain and suffering from remaining injuries after trial;
  • Emotional pain and suffering;
  • Lost wages due to injuries;
  • Lost earning capacity due to injuries, which prevent a victim from returning to the same job;
  • Medical expenses and bills, including medical liens;
  • Medical supplies and treatment;
  • Property damage, including damage to vehicles;
  • Future surgeries or medical treatment;
  • Loss of consortium and services of a spouse;
  • Wrongful death and
  • Many several other types of damages.

Calculating Damages in New Mexico Trucking Accidents

The calculation of damages is not as formulaic as people hope.  Meaning, there is no exact method to calculate most types of damages—with the exception sometimes for lost wages and lost earning capacity.  This can be frustrating to injured victims because they may not be able to determine what they are entitled to.  However, our experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys know how to calculate damage and estimate damages based one our years of experience.

For pain and suffering damages, the amount an individual is entitled to is based on the reasonable compensation that other victims with similar injuries in similar circumstances have received.  This can be through other settlements, jury verdicts, of appellate-level court decisions requiring whether the compensation a victim received was reasonable. Therefore, each injury as a “going rate” which it will typically settle for.  There are, of course, other factors to consider such as the victim’s age, severity of the injuries, and comparative fault in causing the accident—all which can affect the amount of damages.

As for medical expenses, bills, and treatment costs, these types of damages can be calculated by simply adding up the total amount.  But the victim also needs to establish that these expenses are related to the subject accident and reasonable.  Because of this, this calculation may require a little more than just doing basic math.

As for lost wages and earning capacity, typically an economist is needed to calculate the average growth of the victim’s job, salary increases, and projects to a reasonable degree of accounting certainty.  This can be very complicated to do, even for an attorney, and specialized knowledge from a retained expert is usually needed.

Obtaining Damages in a New Mexico Trucking Accident

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

New Mexico Rear End Truck Accidents Causing Serious Personal Injuries

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Rear End Truck Accidents Can Cause Serious Personal Injuries or Death, Even at Low Speeds!

Rear end collisions are one of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents.  A lot of rear end collisions occur at low speeds and can be rather innocuous, even though they are annoying and disruptive to every day life.  However, high-speed rear end collisions can cause very serious personal injuries, including debilitating pain, permanent disability, and even death.

Some of the most dangerous types of rear end collisions involve tractor trailer trucks, semis, and other large commercial vehicles.  This is because these vehicles are very large and have significant momentum that gets transferred into the vehicle they collide with.  This is particularly true when the rear end collisions happens at a high speed, such as on an interstate or highway.

Deadly Rear End Collision on Interstate 10 in Trial

This is what happened to the vehicle Joseph Guttuso was traveling in approximately two years ago on Interstate 10.  He was in one of three passenger vehicles which slowed down as they traveled through an ongoing dust storm.  However, three large tractor trailer trucks did not slow down and continued almost blindly through the ongoing dust storm.  These trucks rear ended the passenger vehicles at high speed, resulting in an explosion causing a fatal fire which killed all seven passengers.  No truck drivers were killed.

The Caruso Law Offices, P.C., is representing the estate of Mr. Guttuso in a New Mexico trucking accident and wrongful death case.  This matter is currently at trial in a Santa Fe courthouse.  If you or a someone you know has been injured in a similar accident or in any motor vehicle accident, particularly one causing a wrongful death, call us for a FREE case evaluation by dialing (505) 883-5000.

Rear End Trucking Accidents: Understanding Liability

Generally, the vehicle which rear ends another vehicle is liable for causing the accident and any damages resulting from the accident.  This is under both a theory of common law negligence, which is judge-made law that has evolved over the years, and under a theory of negligence per se, a theory of liability based on a statute.

The applicable statute here is NM Stat Section 66-7-318, which governs following too closely.  This statute provides that “[t]he driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”  Therefore, a vehicle rear ending another vehicle is violating this statute and liable for any injuries resulting therefrom.

Injuries which are caused from a rear end collision with a tractor trailer, semi truck, or other large commercial vehicle can be significant.  Under a theory of both common law negligence and negligence per se, a trucker driver and the truck company can be liable to victims of a rear end collision.

New Mexico Rear End Collisions Caused by New Mexico Trucking Accidents

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced rear end collision attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

New Mexico Trucking Accidents on Interstates: Why These Can Be Particularly Deadly Crashes

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Trucking Accidents on Interstates: A Deadly Recipe for Passenger Vehicles

All trucking accidents can be very dangerous and deadly.  However, it should be no surprise that New Mexico trucking accidents on Interstates and highways can be absolutely catastrophic.  Many times help can be far away and few between, leaving victims to wait for the help they desperately need immediately.

The Caruso Law Offices, P.C., is currently in trial representing the estate of Joseph Guttuso in a New Mexico trucking accident which occurred on Interstate 10.  Mr. Guttuso was traveling in one of three passenger vehicles going through an ongoing dust storm.  These three passenger vehicles slowed down given the ongoing nature of the dust storm limiting visibility.  However, three tractor trailers did not slow down and continued near-blindly through the dust storm.  The tractor trailers collided at a high speed with the passenger vehicles and caused a pileup accident.  There was an explosion and a large fire devoured the three passenger vehicles, killing all seven inside including Mr. Guttuso.  None of the truckers were seriously injured or killed.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident on an Interstate, contact the experienced trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.  We will fight to protect your rights to compensation.

Recipe of Dangerous Collisions: Interstate Highway Crashes

Interstates are fact moving stretches of roadway which allow all vehicles to gain significant speed.  Most vehicles travel even beyond the posted speed limit, many without repercussion as they go through the miles and miles of empty stretches of roadway without worry of law enforcement.  Most people know right away that “speed kills,” which is a common contributor to motor vehicle accidents.

Size also kills.  Semi trucks, commercial trucks, and large tractor trailers are naturally very big and heavy, even without a payload.  Add any type of cargo and you are just creating a greater danger.  The more weight, the more time it takes for a tractor trailer to stop.

This combination of fast speed and extreme weight also creates significant momentum and force.  The larger the vehicle and the faster it is traveling, the greater the momentum.  Therefore, any collision between a large truck and any other object or vehicle requires the disbursement of this extreme force and momentum into whatever the truck is colliding with.  This can cause devastating damage and horrific injury to occupants of other vehicles which absorb the shockwave.

In addition, New Mexico trucking accidents occurring on interstates and highways pose a natural danger: help is far away!  Many times the closest responded could be fifteen, twenty, thirty, or more minutes away.  This is a lot of time if victims need immediate medical attention.  If the Jaws of Life (a device used to extract trapped passengers from vehicles) is needed, this could take an hour or more to get and deploy.  Therefore, serious injuries with uncontrolled bleeding could quickly become fatal.  In the case of Mr. Guttuso, any fire could also become fatal—particularly if the occupants are trapped in vehicles.

Call the Experienced New Mexico Trucking Accident Attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C.

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident caused by a fire, contact the experienced interstate and highway accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Dust Storm Liability in New Mexico Trucking Accidents: Lessons from Wrongful Death Trial

- Mark Caruso

Dust Storm Liability in New Mexico Trucking Accidents: Guttuso Wrongful Death Trial Underway 

Joseph Guttuso and six others were killed on Interstate 10 when three tractor trailer trucks from SAIA Trucking, Towne Freight, and Lights on Trucking rear ended three passenger vehicles causing an explosion and massive fire.  There was an ongoing dust storm on this stretch of Interstate 10, and the three passenger vehicles slowed down as reasonable under the circumstances.  In fact, there was signage along the roadway warning all motorists to do so.

However, for the three tractor trailer trucks time is money and slowing down was not financially feasible.  The continued to plow ahead despite limited visibility and dangerous continued.  They quickly caught up to the three passenger vehicles and changed the lives of many families in an instant.  But not their families, as none of the truck drivers were killed or seriously injured.  On the other motorists were burned to death in an agonizing way.

The estate of Joseph Guttuso contacted the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. to represent them to fight for their loved one.  The matter is currently in trial in a Santa Fe courthouse.

Our experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys have been compassionately and zealously representing the Guttuso family regarding the wrongful death of their loved one, and look forward to justice being served for the conduct of these three trucking companies.  If you or someone you love has also been killed in a trucking accident, contact the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.

Visibility is Crucial to Driving a Motor Vehicle: Failure to See and Observe can Create Liability

All motorists must drive in a safe manner.  One of the most important aspects of driving is to see what there is to be seen while operating a motor vehicle.  Visibility is, after all, the most important sense while operating a motor vehicle; if you cannot see, you cannot operating a motor vehicle.  Sight of where you are going and what is around you is simply paramount to safe driving.  While touch and coordination is obviously important to maneuver your vehicle, if you cannot see you do not know where to move to.

Even just pure nighttime is more dangerous than daytime because a motorist’s visibility is limited in what he or she can see.  This is why natural phenomena like heavy rain, snow, fog, sleet, and dust can pose significant problems for motorists—all of these factors limit visibility on the roadway.

Liability in a Dust Storm: Why Trucks and Commercial Vehicles Must be Careful

Since visibility is the most important component of safely operating a motor vehicle, when visibility is limited, a motorist’s ability to safely drive is also limited.  Meaning, when visibility is limited a motorist cannot drive as if the conditions are perfect and visibility is perfect.  He or she must take limited visibility into consideration.

Thus, when there is an ongoing dust storm a motorist’s visibility is limited and he or she must exercise the care and caution under these circumstances of a reasonably prudent driver.  He or she must take into consideration the risks of limited visibility and adapt his or her driving to compensate for the limited visibility.

What does this generally mean?

SLOW DOWN.

When a dust storm is limited visibility on the highway or Interstate and you cannot see where you are going, you need to slow down to a rate of speed where you can safely brake or avoid the obstacle within your visual field.  Thus, if your visual field is limited, your speed is limited.

This is simply a duty of care owed by all motorists to other individuals on or near the roadway.  If this duty is breached and such breach causes damages, that is negligence and the injured victim may seek compensation.

Federal Regulations Condemn Commercial Trucking Companies Failing to Slow Down or Stop Driving in Dust Storms

The negligence of a commercial trucking company and driver is also contained in the federal regulations regarding commercial trucking vehicles.

This is codified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, known as the FMCSR.  Under section 392.14, motor vehicles most use extreme caution in hazardous conditions.  More specifically, “[e]xtreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by . . . dust . . . adversely affect visibility . . . .”  Further, this section requires that “[s]peed shall be reduced when such conditions exist.”  And if such dust is too dangerous, “the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated.”

This section makes is unequivocally clear that, where dust limits visibility the commercial trucks must reduce speed, and when such dust becomes too dangerous the commercial trucks must cease driving until it is safe to do so.

The question for the Santa Fe jury is whether it was too dangerous for these three commercial trucks to continue to drive at the speed they were.  Given the aberrant outcome of seven people burning to death, the answer appears obvious to everyone but the truck drivers and trucking companies.  After all, the truck drivers walked away from this accident.

Contact the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. To Protect Your Rights from Negligent Trucking Companies

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident caused by a fire, contact the experienced wrongful death attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.

Albuquerque Police Reports and APD Collision Reports Help Determine Who Caused Accident

- Mark Caruso

Accident and Collision Reports by Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo Sheriff Department for Auto, Truck, Motorcycle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Injuries

By Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)

 

 

The police report, accident report or crash collision report prepared by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) or Bernalillo County Sheriff Department (BCSO) is the best way to determine who was at fault for your  car accidenttruck accident or  motorcycle accident.

 

If you have been in an accident in the Albuquerque area, then most likely an APD officer or Sheriff deputy showed up at the scene to investigate the accident and prepare the accident report.

 

At the scene the officer talked with the drivers of the vehicles and any witnesses who presented themselves to him/her with information about the collision.

 

The officer most likely took handwritten notes of the individuals which will be typed on to a computer form. The officer will also assess the amount of damage and location of the damage to the vehicles and other property that might have been involved.  The officer will also look for other physical evidence such as skid marks, broken glass.  Most importantly the officer will assess the actual location of the accident taking into consideration the number of lanes, traffic control devices like stop signs and traffic signals and the amount of traffic. The officer will also note any complaints of personal injuries from the collision.

 

Based on his/her own training and the laws of the state of New Mexico, the officer will determine which driver was at fault.  In some instances the officer will cite one of the drivers.

 

Normally the officer will not give each driver any information on the other driver.  Instead, the officer will give you his/her business card with the accident report record locator number written on the card.  The officer will tell you that the accident report will be available in 7 to 10 days.

 

The APD officer or Sheriff deputy will then enter all the information from the handwritten notes on to a computerized form approved by the State of New Mexico.  The report includes all of the information discussed above, but the report has a separate section called “Contributing Factors“.  It is this section that is the most important section of the report, because it determines who is at fault for the collision.

 

Let me explain to you how to read this section.

 

Each “Contributing Factors” section on the accident report identifies a specific vehicle such as vehicle 1, vehicle 2, vehicle 3, etc. You will need to look at the first few pages of the accident report to determine which driver and vehicle you are to determine which section of the “Contributing Factors” applies to you.  So, if you are vehicle/driver one on the page 1 of the report, then your “Contributing Factors” are only those listed for vehicle on on about page 3 of the report.

 

A perfect notation in the section would be something like “No Contributing Factor” or “None” meaning that you did absolutely nothing to cause the collision.  Other notations like “Speeding Too Fast for Conditions” or “Failing to Yield” or “Disregarding Traffic Controls” mean that you caused the collision.

 

In my experience as a personal injury attorney I believe that the “Contributing Factor” section of the accident report is the primary factor that insurance companies and attorneys use to determine who is at fault.

It is very difficult to get an insurance company to reject the findings of the officer unless the officer clearly made a mistake and reversed the parties. (This does happen!)

 

The officer is the best person to make a decision on who is at fault for the vehicular collision.  He is at the scene minutes after the collision. The officer can judge the character of the drivers and witnesses to help determine who he/she believes is telling the truth.  The officer sees the physical evidence and the location first hand.

 

If you review the accident report prepared by the officer and find errors, you can file a supplemental report to be attached to the accident report. You can do so by taking the original report with you to the local APD or BCSO office and requesting a supplemental sheet.  You can handwrite your version of the collision together with the accident report number appearing on the original accident report and submit it to staff at the office.

 

Witnesses who are not listed on the accident report are not very credible.  The exception is the witness who may be noted on the 911 transcript. It is important to get a copy of the transcript from the APD or BCSO if the fault of one of the parties is important.

 

Often times the transcript will indicate that a particular witness used his/her cell phone to report an accident that they actually witnessed.  However, because of time constraints they did not stop to talk with the individuals involved or wait for the investigating officer.

 

If you have questions concerning your vehicle accident please contact Caruso Law Offices at 505-883-5000 for a free consultation.  Also, visit our web site at  www.carusolaw.com   We only handle  personal injury  and  wrongful death  cases as a result of a car, truck, motorcycle, bus, bicycle or pedestrian accidents.

 

 

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